Improving patient access to care means supporting patients in navigating their health care and removing obstacles.

Strategies might include:

  • Serving patients quickly
  • Treating urgent issues promptly
  • Minimizing wait times
  • Following up about appointment times and test results

Scheduling best practices to improve access to routine and urgent care might include:

  • Considering online scheduling, or scheduling routine appointments well in advance, e.g., 12 months
  • Informing patients of expected wait times during check-in and keeping them informed when there is a delay
  • Communicating delays apologetically and offering to reschedule if necessary
  • Considering open access scheduling; reserve a portion of each day for urgent care or follow-up care
  • Working with additional providers for urgent and after-hour appointments and availability if needed
  • Exploring partnering with 24-hour urgent care or walk-in clinics

For more tips, see Understanding How Patients Perceive Access to Care.